The Colorado Rockies' experiment with a four-man rotation has kept their starters on a pitch count, but with the team coming off its longest game this season, it could pose a challenge for manager Jim Tracy.
Struggling Christian Friedrich will try to give the Rockies an effective start Sunday when they close their series against the San Diego Padres.Colorado (36-57) moved to a four-man rotation last month and Tracy has been mindful of pitch counts, with no starter throwing more than 89 pitches over the last 23 games.That decision has placed added pressure on the bullpen, particularly over the last few games. Rockies relievers pitched 6 1/3 innings Wednesday against Pittsburgh, five innings on Friday and seven innings in Saturday's 8-6, 12-inning victory over the Padres.Jordan Pacheco had three hits and four RBIs, driving in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 12th and Rafael Betancourt earned the save with a perfect inning. Carlos Torres picked up the win with two scoreless frames."Our bullpen surrenders one run in seven innings of work," Tracy said. "Not too shabby."The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Rockies, who have the second-worst record in the majors ahead of only Houston.After using five relievers in their first extra-inning game in nearly a month, the Rockies desperately need a good performance from Friedrich (5-7, 5.85 ERA), who is 1-6 with a 7.09 ERA in his last eight starts.The left-hander gave up five runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday."I have to find a way to learn from these outings. Try to take the positives out of it and make it a lesson," Friedrich said.Making his first start against the Padres, Friedrich looks to snap a three-start road losing streak. Though he's allowed 10 runs in his last two starts away from Coors Field, he has a 3.79 ERA on the road compared to 8.23 at home.The Padres (40-56) will try to bounce back after their four-game winning streak was snapped Saturday. At least San Diego's offensive resurgence continued as it scored six or more runs for the sixth time in eight games. The Padres still rank 15th in the NL in runs scored.Ross Ohlendorf (3-0, 5.87) will make his second straight start and fourth of the season. After appearing twice out of the bullpen before the All-Star break, he gave up two runs -- one earned -- over a season-high six innings in an 8-2 win over Houston on Tuesday."I feel good," Ohlendorf told the Padres' official website. "I was really happy with how I pitched, especially as the game went on. I know I can pitch like I did tonight. It's definitely a confidence booster moving forward."The right-hander is 1-1 with a 5.75 ERA in five starts against the Rockies. Carlos Gonzalez, who is batting .343 (12 for 35) with two homers and eight RBIs during an eight-game hit streak, is 4 for 11 with a home run and triple against Ohlendorf.